WASHINGTON Several officials from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are being called to testify before a House subcommittee next week on recent allegations that employees were being mistreated.
The House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee said it will hold a hearing April 2 to look into statistical disparities that showed the CFPB's white employees were more likely to get a higher performance rating than minority employees. The disparities were made public in a March 6 article by American Banker that also included quotes from several employees who claimed there is a "retaliatory" atmosphere after filing complaints.
Rep. Patrick McHenry, the subcommittee's chairman, was one of three lawmakers to send a letter to CFPB Director Richard Cordray requesting more information about the employee evaluations and complaints. In a press release Wednesday, he said he wanted to discuss the issue further in a hearing.
"The revelations uncovered in the American Banker story are extremely troubling," McHenry said. "Coupled with the significant number of discrimination claims filed by CFPB employees, this raises serious questions about the management of the bureau."
The American Banker story noted that a majority of the grievances filed were based on disagreements with employee performance evaluations and pay equity.
McHenry has invited M. Stacey Bach, the CFPB's assistant director of the office of equal opportunity employment, and Liza Strong, the agency's director of employee relations, to testify. He has also invited Robert Cauldwell, the president of the CFPB's local chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union.
The CFPB has said it is changing its employee performance review process and is hiring a consultant to help in the efforts. Cordray has sent several letters to employees encouraging them to be more open within the agency about their concerns. He subsequently released the performance review data to all staff on March 21.
"What we have learned in the past two weeks is that we must focus more carefully on how we address diversity and inclusion not only in hiring and contracting, but in our day-to-day treatment of one another in matters of culture and broader career development, including retention, evaluation and promotion," Cordray said in the most recent letter. "We have set high standards for ourselves and our work. But whether we are successful in meeting these standards, and in developing the culture we want to have, will depend crucially on our ability to foster both an open dialogue about these tough issues and an agency-wide commitment to work together on improvement."
The hearing will be held April 2 at 10 a.m.